Chronology of Notable Occasions and Events

YEAR CHRONOLOGY OF NOTABLE OCCASIONs AND EVENTS
1841

First Port regulations issued by Lt. Pedder, the first Harbourmaster.

1842

‘Water Police Detachment’ was first formed.

1844

Land Police established.

1845

First recorded successful action against pirates, when several boat-loads of heavily-armed pirates were captured by a Water Police party under the command of Mr. A. Lena, the Assistant Harbour Master.

1848

First recorded death of a Water Policeman on duty, shot in a melee with a junk manned by suspected pirates.

1853

'Merchant Shipping Act' promulgated.

1855

Registration system for local vessels introduced.

1862

First 'Floating Police Station' moored in Harbour.  System of continuous patrolling in five patrol areas introduced (formerly only central Harbour area patrolled continuously).

1868

Hulk of the barque 'John Adams' commissioned for use as Water Police Headquarters.

1870

Police and Harbour Office duties combined in outstations at Yaumatei, Aberdeen, Stanley, Shaukeiwan and East Point. Mainly intended as an anti-piracy measure, but Water Police Inspectors had extra powers as 'Inspectors of Ships' and did Harbour Office work.

1878

Second experiment with steam-launches. Several vessels were hired   for harbor duty and were probably later brought into service for use by the boarding   Inspectors.

1884
(Feb)

Hulk 'John Adams' caught fire and was lost. Burnt-out hulk later sunk by torpedo from H.M.S. 'Merlin'.

(Sep)

New Water Police Station in Tsim Sha Tsui opened and remained in situ until it moved to Sai Wan Ho in 1996. 

1885

Water Police Basin and Dockyard opened on what is today the site of the Hong Kong Hotel. The facilities included moorings for steam launches and a 'floating fire engine'.

1894

Introduction of steam pinnaces for regular Harbour patrols. Rowing patrols were still carried out, but the greater effectiveness of the new vessels meant that over 40% of the junior ranks could be transferred to the Land Force.

1895

Major disturbances in Harbour by cargo and lighter coolies. Water Police involved in supervising and occasionally carrying out the movement of lighters in the Harbour. Some Naval personnel were sworn in as 'Special Constables' to assist during this time.

1899

Leasing of New Territories. First large steam vessels commissioned to patrol new waters.

1900

Major problems with piracy and gun-running.

1909

Water Police Basin sold to Kowloon Wharf & Godown Co. and money raised used to purchase land at Kowloon Point for new terminus of Kowloon Canton Railway. Water Police Dockyard moved to larger premises at Yaumatei, while mooring facility at Tsim Sha Tsui replaced by a large police pier next to the new Railway Station (in use up to the 1970's).

1912

Cheung Chau Station attacked by 50 pirates. One Indian Lance Sergeant, two Indian PC's and two pirates killed. This led to the building of a new station in a defensible position.

1914

Establishment of 'River Steamer Guard Force'. Attached to Water Police.

1918

Officer in command at Tai O (Sgt T. Glendinning) killed by Sikh PC running amok. Wife and baby rescued by crew of PL 2.

1920

Major re-build of Water Police Station, with an extra storey being added between the two towers and all round the courtyard – the last major works on the building.

1926
May

Radio (Wireless Telegraphy) brought into use between Water Police Station and Cruising Launches. Radio not introduced in the rest of   the Police Force until 1946.

July

PL 10 went aground in Shum Chun River above Lo Wu. Crew under fire for six hours before surrendering. Finally extricated by diplomacy and a company of infantry, but party digging launch out (took five days) came under fire twice during operation.

Sep

Piracy of steamer 'Sai Kung' off Tai Long Wan (one Indian piracy guard killed) interrupted by PL 2. Long chase across Sai Kung Peninsula before pirates finally cornered and captured by crew of PL 4 on Tap Mun (two pirates later hanged).

Dec

Joint CID/Water Police ambush of pirates attacking distillery near Kwai Chung. Three pirates killed, one drowned, one wounded (who died later) and four captured.

1933

Norwegian steamer 'Prominent' captured by pirates but intercepted   by PL 4. Shots exchanged and ship and crew rescued, although pirates escaped.

1934

Battle off Ninepins between PL 4 and pirate vessel which had captured a cargo boat the day before and taken three hostages. One pirate wounded, another captured, hostages rescued.

1936

Major typhoon. Inspector A. Wright (OC Water Police) awarded Governor's Commendation for (new) PL 1's rescue of all on board S.S. 'Sunning' when she was wrecked at the height of the typhoon.

1936-1941

Numerous incidents on the edge of HK waters brought about by Sino Japanese War. Many rescues of HK (and Chinese) fishing boats from Japanese gunboats.

1937

'The Great Typhoon' thousands killed. Three Water Police launches badly damaged, but remainder credited with saving hundreds of lives.

PL 4 detected first recorded heroin smuggling case (five pounds of heroin). Court put prisoners on $50 bail, which they immediately 'jumped'.

1939

Water Police 'Q-Ship' commissioned: sailing junk manned by disguised policemen looking to be pirated. No pirates captured, but rumours of ship's existence stopped piracy.

1941

Battle for Hong Kong. Water Police involved in evacuating personnel   and dependents from Islands (under air attack) and then the retreat from Kowloon. Launches scuttled but mostly raised intact and used by Japanese. MHQ used as Japanese Naval Headquarters.

1945

Re-occupation of MHQ.  Many launches recovered intact in Hong Kong and from Canton and Pearl River Delta.

Explosion on PL 3 (boiler blew up), destroying launch and killing ten of her crew. Vessel had only been back in service 2-3 days.

1946

PL 4 sunk by mine off Peng Chau. Seven crew killed.

1947
Mar

PL 16 (harbour tugboat) sunk in a collision with the steamer Tai Po Shan in the harbour.  Sub-Inspector Alexander Paul Zaremba and two crew were killed.

Oct

Major raid on the last recorded pirate stronghold in Hong Kong territory (Lung Kwu Tan, near Castle Peak). One wounded pirate captured but the pirate leader (LAU Chun-ping) fled Hong Kong and was never seen again.

1948

i.) May 1st Official English title of Water Police changed to 'Marine Police' (Chinese name remained the same).

ii.) May 1st PL 1 piracy, Inspectors Olivier and Haynes and Corporal WONG Kam killed.

1949

Battle of Shek Pik. A gang of pirates who had come ashore to careen   their junk clashed with a patrol from Tai O before being cut off from the seaward by PL's 3 & 4 and then being surrounded by PC's rushed out from MPHQ. One killed, ten captured.

1952

Last remaining three-pounder gun from pre-war gunboats recovered from dockyard and mounted at MPHQ.

1953

PL 25 (Tai O Station motorboat) stolen by communist room-boy at Tai O and taken to Lap Sap Mei.

Sep

Royal Naval Motor Launch shelled in the Pearl River by Communist artillery. Seven killed and five wounded. Towed into Tai O by PL 17. 

1954

PL 26 chased the ferry 'FATSHAN' all the way to Macau in pursuit of a gang of robbers.  

PL 28 seized at gunpoint by communist PC who took her to Chinese Territory together with her crew after killing Corporal CHENG Kin-chung. Launch and crew returned a few weeks later.

Sep

Opening of new Police HQ at Arsenal Yard. Whole North Wing given   over to new Harbour Police Station, together with wharf. Wharf lost to reclamation of Gloucester Road in 1960, Station to PHQ in 1972.

1956

Nationalist inspired riots. Principal Marine involvement consisted of a riot company deployed to North Kowloon and a launch to guard the San   Miguel Brewery for three days during the 'Battle of Tsuen Wan'. 

1961

Reorganization and expansion of command due to rising Illegal Immigration.

3-pdr gun mounted at MHQ swapped for 'Jardine's Gun' (6-pdr) which was in turn mounted at MHQ.

1962

Major influx of Illegal Immigrants. 'Operation Hazlemere' inaugurated.

Last recorded action at sea (between PL 2 and a ‘Man Ping’ junk off Mirs Point) in which launch main armament was used.

1964-1965

Marine Police becomes 'Marine District'.

Tai Koo dockyard built PL's 1 & 2 enter service and Operational Bases opened at Tai Lam, Aberdeen and Tai Po Kau.

1966

‘Star Ferry' riots. Marine provided a riot company which was deployed in action on Nathan Road.

1967

Major riots triggered by Cultural Revolution in China. Much Marine involvement in the settlement of the disturbances throughout the year.

Jun

Thai International Airways airliner crashed in Harbour. PL's 1, 2 and 3 involved in rescue of survivors and subsequent action.

1969
Mar

A PC ran amok with Sterling SMG on MD 29 (Marine Department launch in Police colours and manned by Police) in Deep Bay.  All crew members wounded, Corporal YAM Kam-kau and Cook CHAN On killed.

1970-1972

Series of major confrontations between Police launches and Chinese Territory gunboats over II's.

1972

'Queen Elizabeth' (under new colours as 'Seawise University') destroyed by fire off Stonecutters Island. Marine Police much involved in operation (PL 10, a 45 ft Harbour tug-boat, rescued 150 people in one load).

1974

The traditional 'Marine' uniform was dropped.

Royal Hong Kong Marine Police included for the first time in 'Jane's Fighting Ships'.

1977

First batch of six female officers join the Region to perform seagoing   duties.

1978

Arrival of 'Huey Fong' with 3,318 Vietnamese refugees onboard. This inaugurated the great influx from Vietnam.

1979

i.) Major influx of Illegal Immigrants from China (120,000). This together with the Vietnamese led to the 'Marine Expansion Plan'.
ii.) The Small Boat Unit was formed with initial assistance from the Royal Marines.

1981

Support Bureau Marine was set up.

1982

'Marine District' became 'Marine Region'.

1988

Crash of C.A.A.C. jet airliner in Kwun Tong Typhoon Shelter. Six killed.

1989
Aug

Disturbance at Tai Ah Chau Vietnamese Boat People (VBP) detention   camp.

Dec

Disturbance at Chi Ma Wan VBP detention centres.

1991

Set up of ‘Anti-Smuggling Task Force’ to combat the increase in smuggling activities and use of high powered smuggling vessels.

1993

Marine Western Waters and Marine Eastern Waters Districts were formed.

1995

Removal of Trail Maintenance Unit (TMU) from Canton Rd. Government Dockyard (GD) to Stonecutters Islands following the re-location of the latter.

1996

Marine Western Waters District and Marine Eastern Western District changed to Marine Port District and Marine Outer Waters District.  Port District consisted of Marine South Division, Marine Harbour Division   and Cheung Chau Division.  Marine Outer Waters District consisted of Marine East Division, Marine North Division and Marine   West Division.

Lantau Island was separated from Marine Region and became a District of New Territories South Region.

The Anti-Smuggling Task Force and Small Boat Unit were combined to form the Small Boat Division.

Marine Regional Headquarters was moved to Sai Wan Ho base on 26.11.1996.

2008

Collision of the offshore supply vessel Neftegaz-67 and the panamax bulker Yao Hai off the north coast of Lantau.  The Neftegaz-67 capsized and sank resulting in the loss of 18 of her Ukrainian crew.

2009

The Small Boat Division marked the 30th Anniversary of the formation of the original Small Boat Unit.

2010

Introduction of the Sha Tau Kok Forward Operating Platform in Starling Inlet to interdict illegal immigration and smuggling.

2010 Oct

Introduction of the Sha Tau Kok Forward Operating Platform in Starling Inlet to interdict illegal immigration and smuggling.

2011 Apr

Launching of the Sea Safety Guarding Angels Scheme in Marine East Division.

2012 Oct

Collision of the ferries Lamma IV and Sea Smooth off Lamma Island resulting in the sinking of the Lamma IV and death of 39 persons. 

2013 Dec

Opening of the new Yung Shue Wan Police Post on Lamma Island.

2014 Oct

The Small Boat Division marked the 35th Anniversary of the formation of the original Small Boat Unit.

2015

Marine Tier II Internal Security Company deployed to assist land formations deal with the Occupy Central Movement. 

2017

Events to mark the 20th Anniversary of the return of Hong Kong’s sovereignty to the People’s Republic of China which culminated in a visit to the HKSAR by President Mr. XI Jinping.  Marine Region was heavily involved in both the events and maritime security for them. 

2018 Feb

Opening Ceremony for the Police Launch Simulator in the Marine Police Training School.

Oct

Opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.

2019–2020

The HKSAR was subjected to a prolonged period of extremely violent social unrest and as part of Operation TIDERIDER, Marine Region mobilized its manpower to operational tasks both ashore and at sea. 

2020 Nov

The Region took delivery of eight new Multi-Mission Interceptors for use by the Small Boat Division and two hovercraft for use in the unique operational environment of Deep Bay in Marine West Division.

2020 Dec

Ceremony for the Unveiling of Marine Region’s Noonday Gun following its restoration.